Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rumor of a bank not allowing a depositor access to his gold

Jim Sinclair reports that a friend of his was denied access to his physical gold in his allocated account at a primary Swiss bank.  The Swiss bank cited a directive from the Swiss Central Bank to limit transactions to less than 200,000 Swiss Francs to prevent money laundering.  

Jim Sinclair is a commodities trader and blogger whose writings I have followed for several years.  He has been predicting defaults in the paper gold market for a while now.  Here is a link to his website: http://www.jsmineset.com/

Does the bank have the physical gold?  Is the bank scrambling to get gold now so that they can return it to the depositor?  I hope that Jim and his friend continue to report on their experience.  Has the friend been able to get 200,000 Swiss Francs worth at least?  Has the friend been able to go into the bank's vault and see the gold that is allocated to his account?  Has the friend been able to audit his gold in the vault by validating serial numbers, weighing, ultrasonic testing, etc.

For background: an allocated gold account is an account that belongs 100% to the owner.  The gold may not be pooled or swapped.  In theory there is a shelf in the vault at the bank that contains this depositors gold.  If the bank does not have this depositors gold, the bank must have given it to someone else, which would be criminal.  This experience could create enough doubt in other depositors minds to ignite a vault run on physical gold.  

I certainly would not trust a bank to store my gold.  But, then I do not have many ounces to worry about storing.  If I had a lot of bullion, I would keep much of it in safe deposit boxes at various banks and credit unions.  I would routinely audit amounts entrusted to the bullion vaults at primary banks.  

By the way, if gold ownership is ever made illegal as in the 1930's or heavily taxed, the first place that governments will go to confiscate physical gold is the primary banks' vaults.  Remember what happened to the precious metals of MF Global's customers after MFG went bankrupt in October 2011.

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